Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies”

In India - Disaster risk management is the responsibility of State Government . The National government plays supportive role when  resources of state government gets overwhelmed.
Globally “Pro-active disaster management or disaster risk management” is relatively a new subject and there are no standards to be followed for developing and implementing mitigation strategies. Paucity of “required capabilities” in the states is the biggest hindrance in the way of effective proliferation of disaster risk management system across the country in India.
Decision makers at all level need a clarity on - what is needed for developing, implementing and managing effective disaster risk management strategies. As an attempt toward bringing clarity on - current practices of  Disaster Management in India and their effectiveness - I have published a book - Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies.
My book - “Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies” released on 10th Feb 2018, is the first comprehensive book on disaster management in India. It covers history of disaster management in India, evolution of present techno-legal system for managing disasters, effectiveness of the current DM systems and procedures, issues and challenges and future directions for improvement. The foundation of this rests on a strong understanding of  governance, sociology, science and technology.
The book – “Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies” - provides a practical and realistic understanding of the evolution and current  status of disaster management in India. Lack of resources, lack of coordination, and poor communication are endemic to severely damaged disaster environments and are very commonly seen across the world. What is more important for the future is that new methods are being evolved that overcome the potential risks posed by such initial conditions for improving organizational performance.

Drawing on the author’s decades of experience both in the domains of disaster management and technology, the book provides tips on - Emergency Operations Center design and development; Media integration into DM, emergency Resources Management systems development and Crowd management at venues of mass gathering including places of worships. Intervention strategies proposed for strengthening and improving disaster management systems provides a basic framework to develop actionable programme in the specific sub-sections of disaster risk management .

The ‘Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies” has takeaways for – DDMAs, SDMAs, ATIs, SIDMs, NIDM, NDMA, Academia involved in research work in disaster risk management, industries, and practitioners. This is the first comprehensive book  on Disaster management in India and I hope will be read widely. The book is available on Amazon. Visit

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Book 

"Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies" 

by Dr. R. K. Dave

On 10th Feb 2018 my book on the “Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Opportunities” is released. This the First Book presenting glimpses of Past and Present of Disaster Management in India along with recommendations on the future directions for -  Governance, Practitioners, academia and other stakeholders.
This book – “Disaster Management in India: Challenges and Strategies” - provides a practical and realistic understanding of the evolving status of disaster management in India. The book discusses techno-legal systems for disaster management and their real-life effectiveness based on the author’s own professional experience as well as available literature including studies, reviews and audits reports.
A case study of the 2001 Bhuj Earthquake conducted by the author is at the nucleus of the book and provides a clear understanding on how interdependent sub-systems (social, organizational, infrastructure) can fail during severe incidents, and the consequences thereof.
The Bhuj earthquake adversely impacted the operational capacity of the organisations responsible for emergency response (at district and tehsil) and aggravated the situation from bad to worse with wide-spread compounding failure of infrastructures (communications failure across conventional phone lines, cell phone systems, outage of electricity / water supply,  destruction of Government buildings ) in the affected area.
Lack of resources, lack of coordination, and poor communication are endemic to severely damaged disaster environments like 2001 Bhuj earthquake and are very commonly seen across the world. What is more important for the future is that new methods are being evolved that overcome the potential risks posed by such initial conditions for improving organizational performance. Lessons from the 2001 Bhuj earthquake highlighted in this book are still relevant even after 16 years of the earthquake and provide deeper insight for evolving methods capable of overcoming the potential risks posed by the initial conditions in the disaster environments.
The book critically examines performance status of disaster management in the post DM Act 2005 period and identifies many relevant issues and challenges. The book also looks at the development of institutions for disaster management and their design in response to various disasters management scenarios with a view to improving actual practices.
At the end, the book proposes intervention strategies for strengthening and improving disaster management systems in India keeping in mind the latest developments and best-practices suited to Indian conditions. Drawing on the author’s decades of experience both in the domains of disaster management and technology, the book provides tips on - Emergency Operations Center design and development; Media integration into DM, emergency Resources Management systems development and Crowd management at venues of mass gathering including places of worships.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Genesis of ICT enabled Gujarat State Public Grievance Redressal system – Part I

Tele-Fariyad (2002)

Chief Minister’s Call Center for Public Grievance Management

Everyone interacts with the Government on day-to-day basis for various services. However, not all - accessing Government may get satisfied and it is very common that there remain un-resolved public grievances.

In the year 2002 – that time Chief Minister (CM) expressed his concern about unsolved grievances of the many people leaving in remote areas in the state. The CM was of the opinion that - If anyone wants his voice to be heard in the highest echelons of power, that person, no matter how small, how weak, how poor, how old, should not be deprived of this fundamental right. Inspired by the Chief Minister’s thoughts - Advisers were directed to improvise a system to enable a system allowing aggrieved in state to reach directly to the CM irrespective of their physical location. He also directed planners to ensure that for conveying his or her grievance the citizens in the remotest locations of the State should not spent more than cost of a local telephone call.

A ICT based service by name of “Tele-Fariad” was conceived and developed keeping following into consideration

(1)   Common citizen in any corner of the state should be able to directly deposit his or her
Grievance to the highest administrative office in the state,
(2)   Depositing complaint should not cost more than a local telephone call charge to the depositor,
(3)   the complainant should get a feeling of seriousness of the administration to solve the 
Public grievances
(4)   The process should be web enables and should work on the Gujarat State Wide Area Network.


GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network) backbone, which was already in place at that time (2002) - connecting 25 districts and 225 talukas in the State with a capital city of Gandhinagar, was used as communication backbone for Tele-Fariyad service. Each district Wide Area Network node had remote access server. The original complains were recorded in the district voice mailbox and for that necessary arrangements were made to receive telephone calls from jurisdiction at the district GSWAN node and transmit it further using the stored and forwarded mechanism. The mechanism was near to online as a complain stored in the local computer node through a computer to telephone interface card will reach to the agents sitting in the CM’s Office at Gandhinagar in 7 to 9 minutes for further processing.

Technical Details

  1. Component used – CTI 4 port dialogic card, application software for compressing voice mail WAV file into MP3
  2. Compressed file and transmitting to the designated mail box in the CM’s Office. A web based complains submission form for the agent sitting in CM’s Office.
  3. A feedback mechanism through intranet mail system
  4. Single Grievance reporting number for the State: Government of India, Ministry of Communication was requested to allot a 4 digit common number, which can be used across the state for CM’s grievance call center, Ministry of Communication allotted 1505 on 22 Jan 2002 for this purpose. The Tele-Fariyad service was made open at three districts initially and scaled to cover whole state later.
Benefits derived out of Tele-Fariyad (TF)

(1)   provided Easy-Grievance System for Public

(2)   Allowed Public to Register their Grievance by just making a call

(3)   Grievances from any remote area of the State could be registered easily

(4)   Availability of system for all 24 hours and all 365 days a year

(5)   Eliminated human factor to a large extent while registering grievance

(6)   Facilitated De-centralization at District Level

(7)   Enhanced “vigilance keeping capabilities” of the Government Machinery by receiving grievances from citizens directly at the highest level.

Functioning of Tele-Fariyad (TF):

(1)   Aggrieved would dial a four digit telephone Numbers provided to register their grievances

(2)   Aggrieved would listen to a “Welcome Message of Hon’ble CM” and he/she would record grievance after hearing the Beep.

(3)   The call is recorded on the Server in the form of a sound file & forwarded by mail to the TF E-mail Addresses immediately.

(4)   The above e-mails are downloaded on the Computers operational at TF Center.

(5)   The TF Agents (Data Entry Operators) listen to the voice mails & transcript message in Gujarati language in a software application developed by NIC.

(6)   Based on the jurisdiction (physical and subject wise) relevant collector’s Office & secretary are provided with the grievances details for taking appropriate action. They can also view the grievances by logging into the application.

(7)   The Collector Office updates the status of the grievance in the Web Application and informs the aggrieved regarding the action taken by them.  

(8)   CM Office monitors the status of the registered grievances.

Outcome & Effects

The tele fariyad was a great success. 70 % of the grievances use to get resolved within 30 days from the date of reporting. People were happy to have a facility directly connecting them with the highest level (CM) in the state.

Next Step - The Chief Minister was very happy with the response, acceptance, and performance of tele-fariyad. But this was just beginning – CM wanted a more effective technology driven solution which is “live and spontaneous” in resolving most complex issues / public grievances which were pending for longer time and could not be concluded due to various reasons. SWAGAT – a “real time technology driven grievance redressed system” was planned, designed, and implemented under direct guidance from that time Chief Minster in the state. For more information - see my next blog on SWAGAT

Wednesday, September 17, 2014








·         Because floodwaters may carry disease from sewage, the only safe floodexposed foods are those in sealed metal cans. Vacuum packed food should be discarded due to difficulty in cleaning the packaging. Throw out dented or damaged cans as they might contain leaks.

·         All bottles or containers of food with screw top lids that have been flooded should be discarded. Food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwaters and cannot be washed and disinfected should be discarded.

·         All perishable foods left in a refrigerator for more than 24 hours without electricity should be discarded.

·         Frozen food left in a freezer will stay frozen for a few days without electricity if the door is kept shut. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present and the food has not been exposed to flood waters.

Cosmetics and Medicines

·         All cosmetics, medicines, and other toiletries that have been exposed to flood waters should be disposed of.

Walls and Floors


·         Clean all mud from the premises, then scrub cement walls and floors thoroughly with detergent and water. Rinse and repeat. Rinse well and disinfect with a suitable diluted disinfectant.


·         Remove all mud and refuse. Clean, disinfect, and ventilate the area to dry the wood. Keeping the temperature at around 21 degrees Celsius will help the area to dry.

·         Plywood and particleboard sub floors are usually not recoverable after having been submerged in water as they are constructed from nonwaterproof glues, which separate when in contact with water.

·         Soaked wood floors, especially hardwood, may buckle. It may be possible to restore them but a new floor covering may be required.


·         Let plaster walls and ceilings dry thoroughly before washing. Brush off loose dirt, wash with a detergent or other cleaner and then disinfect.

·         Wallpaper will probably have to be replaced.

·         Linoleum and vinyl tile floors may be loosened or damaged by moisture. Take opinion for construction engineer / contractor to determine if the damage can be repaired.


·         Ceilings above the high water mark may appear dry and undamaged but should still be checked as water can wick upwards through the walls. Ceilings that are below the high water mark should be vented by removing ceiling tiles or cutting holes in each cavity between the floor joists. Clean and disinfect after checking.

Doors and Windows

·         Doors should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Removing the doorknobs and laying the door on a level surface may help to prevent warping of wooden doors.

·         Locks that have been exposed to flood waters should be taken apart and cleaned, disinfected, dried and oiled before reassembling. Be careful with the oil as it could drip.

·         Doors and window frames could be warping and twisting and should be repaired if necessary. Sliding windows should be removed and both the windows and track cleaned. Sliding or bifold doors should be removed and both the door and tracks cleaned and disinfected.

·         Do not paint and redecorate until everything is completely dry.

Wooden Furniture

·         Remove all drawers and other working parts as soon as possible. Clean and disinfect thoroughly and allow drying. Wipe varnished furniture that has not been in direct contact with the floodwaters, but instead exposed to high humidity, with a cloth dampened in ammonia, spirits of camphor or essence of peppermint to remove white spots or scum. Immediately apply furniture wax or polish.  


·         Chairs, chesterfields and sofas with metal or wooden frames, which have come into contact with floodwater, can sometimes be salvaged but the covering, stuffing and padding must be discarded.

·         Remove all dirt and debris, clean thoroughly and allow to dry in the sun, or use an electric heater or fan.

Rugs and Carpets

·         Remove loose dirt, shampoo with a product containing a disinfectant, and dry. (Make sure the disinfectant will not discolor the fabric). Sewage soaked carpets must be discarded.

·         To prevent mould and mildew it is essential to clean and thoroughly dry carpets as quickly as possible (within two days). You can do this by ventilating the area, applying heat, and using fans to circulate the air. Typically, homeowners can’t effectively dry large areas of soaked carpets themselves and qualified professionals are required.

·         Glued down rugs and carpets may have to be removed if submerged, as the floodwaters will deteriorate the glue. Carpet underpads may need to be replaced.

Dishes and Utensils

·         Contaminated dishes and utensils must be thoroughly washed with disinfectant, rinsed and disinfected before being used. Typically, utensils soaked in a chlorine solution of 1% for fifteen minutes should be disinfected.

·         Wooden utensils should be thrown out.

Clothing and Bedding

·         Mattresses and comforters soaked with floodwaters cannot be adequately disinfected and should be discarded. Pillows filled with feathers or synthetic material should be disposed of.

·         Cotton and linen fabric soiled with red or yellow clay need special treatment. DO NOT immerse in hot soapy water, or the stains will set. Brush off all loose dirt and rinse until no more dirt can be removed, then wash in warm soapy water (several times if necessary). Add a disinfectant at the end of the washing cycle but be careful when using bleach.


·         Clean with a damp cloth, then buff with a dry cloth. Stuff newspaper into purses and shoes to help retain their shape. Leave suitcases open to dry out. Keep leather goods away from heat or direct sunlight while drying. Clean with saddle soap when dry. Use a suede brush or steel wool on suede. Rinse leather and suede garments in cold water and dry them away from heat or direct sunlight.

Books, Documents and Paper Goods

1.      Water damaged books can be salvaged by careful, slow drying. However, sewage contaminated books should be disinfected or thrown away. After pages have been exposed to the air for a while they can be pressed to prevent crumbling. If they are not thoroughly dried, they may mildew.

2.      Make every attempt to clean and save legal documents and other valuable documents, as this is less costly than paying to replace them.

3.      Paper that is kept together in a wet state for several days may meld into a solid mass and become unsalvageable. Therefore, books and papers that have been damaged can be stored in a freezer until time is available to work on them. To do this:

·         Rinse off dirt, towel dry by blotting (not rubbing).

·         Wrap books loosely in freezer or waxed paper.

·         Pack (spine down) in a sturdy container.

·         Freeze.

If you have important books you wish to save or restore:

·         Hold the book closed when rinsing.

·         If the book is partially wet or damp, stand the book on the top or bottom edge with covers open at a 90 deg. angle and air dry.

·         If the book is very wet, lay it flat on a clean surface, interleave less than 20% of the book with absorbent material, and replace the interleaving when it becomes damp.

·         After the pages have been exposed to the air for a while, press them to prevent crumbling.

·         Alternate drying and pressing until the pages are thoroughly dry. Otherwise, mildew will result.

·         Avoid drying books for too long in the full sun as this can damage the bindings.


·         Remove from enclosures or frames and carefully rinse with cool clean water. Be sure not to touch or blot surfaces. Hang to air dry with clips on a nonimage area, or lay flat on absorbent paper. Keep the photographs from contact with adjacent surfaces or each other. If there are too many photographs to air dry in 48 hours, freezing them with freezer or wax paper interleaves may be able to preserve them for a time.

Framed Artwork

·         Remove paintings from the frames in a safe, dry place. DO NOT separate paintings from their stretchers. Keep wet paintings horizontal with the paint side up and nothing touching the surface. Avoid direct sunlight.

·         If the art has a glass frame and sticks to the glass, leave it in the frame and dry it with the glass side down.


·         Replace any telephone wiring that has been submerged. Even though the phone may still work, the floodwaters may cause corrosion, which could cause problems in the future.


·         Padded or stuffed toys such as stuffed animals should be discarded or taken to a professional cleaner. Plastic and metal toys should be cleaned with a detergent and a disinfectant. Toy clothing should be treated the same way as household clothing and bedding.

Other Equipment and Appliances

·         Before using, allow small appliances (toasters, kettles) to dry completely and then thoroughly clean with a detergent solution, rinse and disinfect.

·         All lighting fixtures that were flooded should be removed and checked. Take floor and table lamps apart and clean parts thoroughly.

·         Throw away any extension cords that are not in excellent condition.

·         Your gas appliances should be cleaned and controls and gas lines checked by a qualified serviceman before reuse.

·         Appliances with foam insulation, such as some ovens, refrigerators, and freezers that were submerged in floodwater, may have to be discarded because they cannot be disinfected. Check with a qualified serviceperson as to whether or not it is possible to remove and replace the insulation.

·         Consult electrician before operating any electric or motordriven appliance.

Water and Sewer Systems Home Plumbing

·         Have floor drains and sump pumps flushed and disinfected. If a private sewage disposal system is used, ensure that chlorinated (or other disinfectant) water is not discharged to the disposal field.

·         During a flood, the water pressure in the plumbing lines can reverse, and water in pipes can be contaminated with floodwater. Have a plumber inject bleach into the lines to disinfect them.

·         The municipality typically notifies households serviced by a municipal sewer when the sewage system has been restored. You should contact them if they do not inform.

Public Water Systems

·         If you are on a public water system, contact local officials in order to determine whether or not your water is safe to drink. It is advised to continue using boiled water for longer time after sever flood to be at safer side.

Returning to Home

Take following precautions before activating your house.
·         An electrician checks the electrical system.

·         A gas fitter has checked natural gas and propane appliances.

·         A safe supply of drinking water is available.

·         The sanitation facilities are working properly.

·         All floodcontaminated rooms have been cleaned and disinfected.

Before rebuilding, ensure that the house is dry. Many problems result from rebuilding after a flood before everything dries.
I am sure tips will be helpful to the house owners in J & K who may be in process of cleaning and arranging their home after the flood.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Planning Recovery Process (Reconstruction and Rehabilitation)

J&K Flood Management Operation-2
Planning Recovery process (Reconstruction and Rehabilitation)

This is the second post on J&K Flood management as my professional contribution at my personal level to all those working in relief and recovery operation Jammu and Kashmir. Post 1 was on the cleaning and other material people in affected area will need. This post covers tips on planning for commencement of recovery process.
Recovery (Rehabilitation and Reconstruction) process – Step 1

1.    Planning and management of a survey to be conducted to assess the damage

a)      Standards, accepted definitions, documentation mechanisms and procedures for post disaster data collection and damage assessment.

b)      Establishing a building inspection procedure (e.g. using a standardized Rapid inspection technique to assess the structure and recommend repairs / rebuilt) and a safe Entry tagging system (i.e. no entry, Limited entry or safe entry) for buildings can facilitate reoccupation.

c)      Involve community / volunteers to collect data on damage in standard format.

d)     Data collection teams should be created at Panchayat level (a team under each Panchayat) in village and Municipal Corporation should handle (number of team based on number of wards) it in the urban areas.

2.    Planning and Management of  Rehabilitation and Reconstruction – Step 2

a)      Analysis of damage assessment survey and identify resource needs for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

b)      Providing services such as reconstruction planning, building design and expert advisory, construction and supervision services;

c)      Building and repairing residential buildings and public service facilities such as schools, hospitals, broadcasting and television facilities, and cultural, sports and welfare facilities;

d)     Building and repairing infrastructures for services such as roads, water and gas supply, drainage, sewage and garbage disposal;

e)      Building and repairing the agricultural infrastructure and providing agricultural technical services;

f)       Providing machinery, tools, equipment, building materials and other support goods;

g)      The locally existing ecologically friendly materials should be made use of. All the available local resources, local talents, subsidies under various schemes of the governments should be made use of like Nehru Rojgar Yojana, Indira Gandhi Awas Yojna etc.

h)      Providing personnel, organizing training and assisting in the provision of human resources and in job placement;

i)        Encouraging investments in industrial and commercial service facilities and in commercial infrastructure development.

j)        While rehabilitating people living on the dwellings on encroached land in river inundation area people would be shifted to safer places and permanent houses provided in such new and safe areas. In such circumstances, it is necessary to ensure that the new allotment of house sites is registered in the name of women. Involve community while taking such decisions which support gender issues and women empowerment.

I hope donors and administration would find above inputs useful in pro-active planning. For any questions - author can be reached at